Grateful Dead Live at Copps Coliseum on 1990-03-22
Feel Like A Stranger, West L.A. Fadeaway, Easy To Love You, Beat It On Down The Line, It Must Have Been The Roses, The Last Time, Picasso Moon, Don't Ease Me In
Scarlet Begonias-> Fire On The Mountain, Samson & Delilah, Believe It Or Not, Truckin'-> Jam-> Drums-> Jam-> The Other One-> Hey Jude*-> Dear Mr. Fantasy-> Hey Jude Reprise-> Sugar Magnolia, E: It's All Over Now Baby Blue
*The whole song sung by Brent
Collection GratefulDeadBand/Artist Grateful DeadVenue Copps ColiseumLocation Hamilton, ONSource <b>flac16:</b>Matrix by Jubal Hunter Seamons using Final Cut Pro (SHN & FLAC > AIFF > Final Cut > AIFF CD tracking via Audacity > FLAC16 via xACT)Transferred by Hunter Seamons
*final performance - last "Believe It Or Not" 10-21-1988 (89 shows)
**final performance - last complete "Hey Jude" 03-01-1969 (1522 shows!)
1) The vocals often have a "phasey" sound in the SBD, but this is normal.
January 29, 2015
Great sounding matrix
This was in Canada so it's safe to say that nobody here on the archive was there.* The Canada shows didn't have as big of a parking lot scene and this show had less than 19,000 people (it's Canada, so it was built for - what else - hockey). Conversely, Canada didn't have the Big Brother mentality that had started to plague the eastern shows during the post-Touch growth era.
Hamilton is a beautiful city, with typical Canadian friendliness, just south of Toronto and just west of Niagara Falls & Buffalo. This semi-obscure show was during the tour that was culled for Without a Net and has that same sound (the Mississippi 1/2-Step from Copp the night before was used for that release). I say "semi" because this Copp show pops up on 90s fave lists sometimes for the Scarlet>Fire, which was yanked for the So Many Roads box. But these Ontario shows followed the Cap Center shows (released officially as Terrapin Limited) and were immediately followed by the Albany run that appears on Dosin' @ the Knick, the two of which (along with Nassau & MSG) are often considered the best '90 eastern shows. So, given its chronological setting against more-revered shows, it gets overlooked. This is the "peak" of the Brent- era, where many of us heads think the band were leaning on Brent's great input, and where Brent's great playing was often a highlight of the show. Spring '90 was strong & had lots of "new" songs.
The 1st set is solid and doesn't need to warm up and settle in. By the (intro=12) BioDtL (one of only 2 in '90) the machine is rolling along. The Stones' Last Time is in one of its better versions. The only hiccup is the played-to-death yet rarely-pulled-off-well Picasso Moon, though it's better than some other '90 versions. The song is much maligned: "Bigger than a drive-in movie ooo-eee"? C'mon, Barlow. It has clunky transitions and I think Jer never knew quite what to do with Bobby's pet project. Stylistically a twin of "Hell in a Bucket", it needed a better arrangement, smoother lyrics for Bobby's spit-delivery, and some space for Jer to expand into. Dough Knees is lickety-split and off; no expansion.
The 2nd set opens with a Scarlet>Fire that's a best-of-'90 candidate. I love just about any Scarlet but truth is this one's average until the tranny when each of the boys catch a spark and push the energy into a flaming Fire like 13-year-old pyromaniacs; heavy on the maniac. A peppy, inspired, 20-minute version. You can hear Mickey's Fire-specific percussion (marimbas setting?) better on the SBD sources than on So Many Roads' Disc 4. Jer walked off quite a bit earlier than everybody else during the jam out of Truckin'. Brent inserts a stanza of Dear Mr.Fantasy into Hey Jude. This was the first complete Jude since '69 and the last. After this, the song was used only as a reprise. This is a Brent block but Phil pwns it. BTW - this was also the last Believe It and one of only six. It hadn't been played in 2 years. I don't remember the whole story but didn't somebody hate playing it? Too bad, eh? It was more developable than some of the '92-'95 songs that never gelled. Surprisingly, the set ends with the best Sugar Mag of '90. Letter perfect - it's for this the show should be known. And the same can be said for the encore.
These Copp shows are just as good as the more highly-valued Albany '90, MSG '90 (except for 9/20), and Maryland '90 shows.
*Just teasing all of you Canuck deadheads!
Show is Known for:
Scarlet>Fire (also on the So Many Roads box)
Hey Jude (a complete version, interpolating "Dear Mr. Fantasy")
Believe it or Not (the last one ever played)
Beat it On Down the Line
The Last Time
Fire on the Mountain (and the jam out of Scarlet)
Over Now, Baby Blue
There's a great Hunter (seamons.113144) matrix if you prefer that to the "official" sound on the Spring 1990 Box. Video has also gone up on YouTube.
1st Set: B
2nd Set: C+
Overall: 3 1/2 Stars
Not sure how you would institute a tiered rating system based on eras, but good points, Dylan. Well-stated.
November 30, 2012
Great to hear insights from somebody who was actually at this show.
One comment though, I do agree that many Heads on the archive hand out five-star ratings like candy (I have done this with shows I have later re-listened to and were certainly not "perfect"), however, I think rating these shows against a career long continuum could be misleading.
Basically this means that were rating Freedom Hall 74', Cow Palace 76', Fillmore West 69', Red Rocks 78', all on the same scale as this 1990 show? I dont think that's necessarily the most helpful way to rate and review.
IMHO, reviews for shows on the archive should be based on the transfer (sound of the recording, is this a major upgrade? did H. Seamons really bring out lesser-heard qualities from this performance in his transfer?) and against other shows of the era. I would rate this show against other performances from 1988 through 1990, when they were rotating the "Built to Last" material in full-force and were inevitably trying new things with MIDI and taking more risks with lengthy jamming and unusual arrangements.
So to me, no this is not a five star show compared to Fall 1973 or whatever, but when looking at the later Brent years, Spring 1990, and particularly this leg of the tour are IMHO all five star performances. That doesn't mean there isn't musical mistakes or vocal flubs here-or-there, but it means that they were on a revival stride (reviving and retiring beloved tunes) and obviously putting in the extra effort.
A perfect example of a flaw turned noteworthy from this performance is when Brent completely batches his only attempt at performing the full "Hey Jude". Technically this should be a perceived as sloppy, after all, he forgets about half the lyrics and its pretty obvious the band had (like the tended to do sometimes with their less thought-out covers) barely rehearsed it before hand. But it's an emotional performance that takes off once Brent gets back on track and then the finale portion forgives his previous forgetfulness. The fact that they even took this risk, successful or not, makes this show more noteworthy than many, especially combined with the other highlights you mentioned.
Anyways, thanks for sharing your memories of this show, wish I was old enough to have seen it.